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How To Clean Your Dirty, Smelly Running Shoes

by Sportitude
2 May 2019

Keep your best running footwear spick and span with Josh's tips on how to clean sweaty and dirty running shoes.  

Don't sweat it - foot odours are a natural part of an active lifestyle. Whether your innersole has soaked up a ton of sweat or your breathable mesh upper is caked in dirt, you can revitalise your secret weapons for hitting the pavement so they're less worse for wear.

Check out the video with full transcript below.

Hey guys, Josh from Sportitude here and today we're coming at you with an education session. What we’re going to talk about today is what to do with a dirty, smelly running shoe.

I have here a pair of my Brooks Adrenaline 19 test samples that I took for about 50km worth of running. You can see they’re not completely discoloured but there is some dirt that’s collected on these shoes.

If you do suffer from smelly feet, what do you do?

A couple of tips regarding the removable innersole inside your shoe. If you’re an orthotic wearer, what I’m going to encourage you to do is take the innersole or orthotic out then place it next to your shoe in your wardrobe or outside your back door. The reason being is that is going to air out your innersole and it’s also going to air out your shoe. 

The innersole is a cushioning bed, but also a sweat catcher. They are here to absorb all the moisture from your sweat that gets collected in your sock. From your sock it goes into this beautiful bed of odour which is your innersole.

That is the smelliest part of most people’s shoes. You can remove it, place it next to your shoe to get some air through the shoe and air this specific guy out as well.

Now, you can wash the innersole. I’m saying that because a lot of people make the mistake of getting their running shoe and putting it in the washing machine. I put my hand over my eyes and go, why did you do that?

  1. It’s going to damage your washing machine
  2. Shoes aren’t designed to go in your washing machine

There’s subtle stitching that goes on the inside of the shoe and overlays. When they get soaked and wet, they become soft and when you dry them out they become brittle. It puts too much stress on those stitching lines and they can break. 

It doesn’t happen to all shoes that are washed, there are some expectations to that rule. However, for good running shoes please don’t put them in the washing machine.

If you’re sitting there going, what on earth, they're dirty Josh, how am I going to clean them?, there’s a number of cleaning products in the market.

We specifically carry one at Sportitude called Crep running products. There are a few different items in their range that adds to the shoe protection.

There are silicone sprays that will help, almost like a Scotchgard to protect and repel water. There is also some cleaning agents and sponges that help mesh shoes look a little bit newer for longer.

If you’re not in the market to buy a cleaning product, you can get an old toothbrush or a new toothbrush, just don’t use the one you’re currently brushing your teeth with.

Get a little bit of dishwashing liquid, put it into a warm cup with some warm water, dip the toothbrush in there and brush the shoes out ever so slightly. That will help remove some of the dirt on top of the shoe itself and will also not damage the shoe by putting it into the washing machine.

You’ve heard it first, please don’t put your shoes into the washing machine.

There you go guys, that's a couple of tips to help you at home to care for your running shoes better. Care for your running shoes and they’ll care for you.

Happy running, we'll see you next time.